Tags: amish | family | chemo | violate | rights

Amish Family: Chemo, Guardian for Sick Girl a Violation of Rights

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 06:39 PM

By Morgan Chilson

An Ohio Amish family that went into hiding to avoid chemo treatments for their 11-year-old daughter’s lymphoma says that if the court won’t pull the guardian assigned to their case, it could affect the rights of many parents to make medical decisions for their children.

The case made headlines last year when the Medina County, Ohio, Hershberger family packed up and left the area to avoid the chemo treatments for Sarah Hershberger. Recently, the guardian assigned to Sarah Hershberger attempted to resign, although the court has not yet approved the resignation, The Associated Press said.

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In a Friday court filing, the Hershbergers' attorney Maurice Thompson said the court should never have appointed the guardian to make medical decisions.

“Ohio’s guardianship statutes appear to let courts substitute their judgment for that of suitable parents while ignoring the parents’ ‘moral and constitutional interests,’” the Daily Mail quoted from the court documents.

The court filing by Thompson said that the Ohio Court should find that “the decisions of suitable parents may not be attacked by anyone anytime in an Ohio Probate Court, and that these careful and gut-wrenching life and death decisions cannot be second-guessed and overruled where the parents are suitable, and simply seek to try a less invasive treatment first.”

Maria Schimer was appointed to be Sarah Hershberger’s guardian, and her attorney told the Daily Mail that a response would be submitted to the court.

Hershberger’s parents stopped chemotherapy treatments that were making their daughter sick and instead decided to try treating her with natural medicines, the Daily Mail said.

The Huffington Post said doctors where Sarah Hershberger was being treated in Akron, Ohio, gave the girl an 85 percent chance of survival with chemotherapy but projected that she’ll die within a year without treatment.

When Judge John Lohn determined the hospital couldn’t force the girl to have treatment, the Post reported that he said, “They are good parents. They understand completely the grave situation their daughter is in and the consequences of their choice to refuse chemotherapy for Sarah at this time.”

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